Here, thankfully, the Mondeo confounds your expectations of a car hailing from across the Atlantic. The sophistication evident in its powertrain and suspension feels truly European – and dominantly so.

The outright speed of a 148bhp, 1600kg car is never likely to attract attention, and less likely still when that car is so long-geared. Pulling 38mph per 1000rpm in top, the Mondeo is nine percent leggier than a Mazda 6 2.2d Sport and five percent taller geared even than a BMW 320d – both of which have more power and torque.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The Mondeo's 2.0-litre diesel responds quickly and willingly to throttle inputs

Our test car wasn’t even the Econetic economy version, which is longer-legged still. That Ford’s new all-aluminium 2.0-litre turbodiesel gives the Mondeo decent flexibility and pace shows how responsive the engine is.

It takes a little while to get going at the bottom of the rev range, with peak torque not arriving until 2000rpm, and 30-70mph in fourth takes longer than it perhaps should.

From 2000rpm upwards, the engine revs smoothly and freely to 4000rpm, before tailing off thereafter more than a BMW diesel would – but not enough to offend. Pedal response is excellent and pulling power always feels stout enough above that 2000rpm threshold for fuss-free acceleration and easy overtaking.

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Meanwhile, the controls shine with evident careful tuning: uniformly and substantially weighted, with pedals and gearlever consistent and slick through the full range of their travel. Most impressive of all is cruising refinement.

With wind noise, road roar and engine noise all dealt with thoroughly, the Ford is fully three decibels less raucous at 70mph than a BMW 320d and a Mazda 6, both tested as inherently quieter saloons.

You know you’re in uncharted waters when the biggest compliment you can pay a Ford is how hushed, leggy and grown-up it feels – but that is nonetheless where we are.

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